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Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 22 February 2010

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gurkhapic1 To change things up just a bit, rather than simply reviewing cigars themselves, we will take a more in-depth look at Gurkha Cigars as a company and how it got to where it is today. We will review how it was founded, the inspiration behind the brand, and finish off with an overview of some of the many lines that the brand has to offer.

First, let’s learn how Gurkha got its name. Gurkha cigars are named after a group of people from Nepal and northern India. The Gurkha people were named after Guru Gorakhnath. Gorakhnath was an eight century Hindu warrior saint who gave his followers, called Gorkhas back in time, the name, which literally means “cow protectors” when translated to English from the prakrit language’s words of “go rakkha.” It was the descendants of one of Gorakhnath’s disciples, Bappa Rawal, who would later go on to establish part of the nation that we now recognize as Nepal.

The Gurkha people were particularly known for their bravery and fighting skills. They were so adept at fighting, that British officials referred to the Gurkhas as a “Martial Race”, a label given to groups of people that exemplified qualities one would seek in an ideal warrior, such as strength, loyalty, courage, and the like. The reputation earned by the Gurkhas would lead them to often be sought by the British to serve with them side by side in the British Indian Army in both the 19th and 20th centuries. One example of the Gurkha people’s bravery is the Gurkha War, which took place from 1814 to 1816 and involved the Gurkhas against the British East India Company Army. The Gurkhas successfully defended themselves during this battle, earning the respect of the British soldiers, who in turn made Nepal a free land. The British respect for the Gurkhas continued, as they would go on to request their fighting services in future conflicts. Gurkhas that are still aligned with the British Army today operate under the official sector of the Brigade of Gurkhas and are considered to be full-fledged British soldiers.

As for how the cigars themselves received the Gurkha moniker, it’s basically an issue of respect. The British soldiers that occupied India during colonial times would make their own cigars from local tobacco. Out of respect and admiration for the Gurkha fighters they witnessed, they decided to name their homemade cigars Gurkhas as well. The homemade Gurkhas remained a hot item in the Portuguese territory of Goa, a coastal area that currently composes India’s smallest state in terms of size. Goa is a popular tourist attraction, and in 1989 a man by the name of Kaizad Hansotia was vacationing there when he stumbled upon the Gurkha cigars. He enjoyed the homemade creations so much that he decided to purchase the rights to the entire brand for a mere $143. At the time, Hansotia did not have any grand plans to mass produce a global cigar line. Instead, his vision was just to give the cigars away as gifts to friends and colleagues. Hansotia’s vision shifted in 1995, however, when he decided to team up with Miami Cigar Company to distribute the cigars within the United States.






Comments 

 
0 # Progress, NOT perfection!Tequila George 2010-02-28 11:00
I am happy to hear of this bit ourkhaf history as I have enjoyed Gurka's cigars, but, have always been a little spooked as to the label image and it's origin. It now makes me feel better to light 'em up. ;-)

I know I have certainly provided Kaizad Hansotia his investment back, over and over and over and... :D

I have not had any of the ultra high end sticks that were discussed, here, but, one of my favorites from Gurka is the Beast. The Beast has a bit of a premium cost over other average priced Gurkas, but I'll enjoy that larger stick over an entire little league baseball game, including the travel time. :-)

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0 # Mr.Paul LaBrie 2010-08-31 03:45
I'm smoking my first Gurkha, a gift, as I type. Wow! The first full bodied cigar without overwhelming pepper, very smooth. The only problem is that the band only says "Gurkha" without any other designation. It is red with gold. The soldier is all gold. What Gurkha am I smoking?

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